So Long, Jerk
Why liberals will be glad to see Rahm Emanuel go.
Also in Slate: Read John Dickerson's article about what Democrats think when they hear the phrase "buck up."
As Emanuel heads for the exit, he loses some of his ability to shape his legacy. Objectively, he was the chief of staff for the busiest liberal White House since LBJ; objectively, he was the chief of staff who left an administration that was weakened, unpopular, presiding over 9.6 percent unemployment, and heading for brutal election losses. After the losses come, Rahm Emanuel won't be in Washington to explain—on background, of course—that liberals blew it by asking for too much and being complacent when they didn't get it.
"His role was to win at all costs, and he was good at that job in the House," says Moulitsas. "In the White House, he failed. Shit, Dems can't even pass a middle class tax cut."
So the Professional Left faces life, for the first time, without Rahm. Do they find a new foe in Robert Gibbs or Emanuel's eventual replacement? Do they hone in on the structural weaknesses that he failed to correct, like the administration's snail-paced appointments to courts and Treasury positions? And perhaps most important—or most poignant—in a Rahm-less world, with no blood feuds: Who will pay attention to them?
David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.
Photograph of Rahm Emanuel by Alex Wong/Getty Images.